Third Test – Day 1: Thoughts on Cape Town


Michael Clarke has answered his critics in the best way possible and is on the brink of one of the most courageous and important centuries of his career. On the back of another brilliant century from the unstoppable David Warner, and in cohoots with a rather cavalier Steve Smith late in the day, Clarke helped deliver Australia’s best batting performance of the summer.

The skipper had to answer a lot of questions along the way. Ultra-cautious early in his determination to turn his form around, he overcome a ferocious battering in his teens from Morne Morkel before blossoming in familiar style once he passed fifty. Morkel clattered Clarke’s helmet, hands and body, yet Clarke survived and Morkel remains wicketless.

Warner again led the charge in familiar fashion. Never has a batsman talked the talk and walked the walk like this bulldog from Sydney. He intimidates bowlers and unsettles captains like no one before him, and the initiative he seized in the first hour  was the platform for Australia’s position of dominance at the end of the day. His value to the team is priceless.

Smith was confident and aggressive from the start, even to the point of reckless at times, but such is the beauty of youth. His century partnership with his skipper crushed the spirit out of an ailing attack late in the day, and their assault on the second new ball was staggering.

Dale Steyn, off the field with a hamstring problem, was sorely missed, and the limitations of the part-time spinners were cruelly exposed on easily the best batting wicket of the series. Vernon Phillander will continue to be challenged by the Aussies  -you get the feeling they want to prove that his record flatters him  –  while Kyle Abbott found life a lot tougher than he did on debut twelve months ago.

All is set for Australia to ram home its advantage on day two and create scoeboard pressure as the Proteas did at Port Elizabeth. The wicket has more carry than last week’s and is quick enough for Mitch Johnson to still challenge the South Africans physically.

But the issue to watch for as the game unfolds might be how prepared James Pattinson is for this challenge. Since breaking down at Lord’s eight months ago the Dandenong paceman has bowled no more than seven overs in any game of cricket he has played. He should have been kept in Australia to play a Shield game or two over the last few weeks, then flown to South Africa to join the party. Pat Howard’s player management is under the microscope.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great report Bmac and for all of Warners foot in mouth disease his batting and ability to intimidate the opposition is priceless ( K Stackploe but with far more ability ) mind you getting out to Duminy in his last 2 inn is not a achievement . Clarke was gutsy and while his footwork against Morkel was poor at times he fought it out hopefully we can go on with it and put , SA under huge scoreboard pressure . Spot on re Pattinson ridiculous that he didn’t stay back and play a shield game relying on him and Watto the Wombat to do a lot of bowling is a huge concern, and Harris body may have caught up with him as well ( out of interest does any 1 no how much rain there was on what should have been the 5th day of 2nd test ) Thanks Brendan

  2. Nice write up. Will be interesting to see how the Aussie attack go on this deck and if they can get some reverse. Quick scoring will give them plenty of time and Lyon may be a key.

  3. Troy Hancox says

    very nicely summarized!
    I agree it is set up nicely. The real fact that Australia continue to score at over 4 per over is testiment to “taking the game on”.
    We ALL witnessed South Africa “shutting up shop” on previous tour just in case they may of lost-risky-gutless, but they also managed to win that particular series.

    This game is far from won. Yes a massive score produces scoreboard pressure.
    We still most bowl disciplined lines & lengths from both ends!

    This decider is going to be a ripper.

    Here comes some baggy eyes at work this week fellas!

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